Years before the JAWS books and movies before Blue Water White Death the supreme ocean predator was a subject spoken only between ocean professionals and experienced skin divers.
In this era the media published no information relating to the differences in sharks. The difference between grey nurse sharks and bronze whalers was still ‘high tech’ and a bit complicated for average readers to grasp.
A better understanding began when the first quality film frames showing a young and snapping white pointer were printed into still pictures.
These shots later inspired a better promotion between shark species when one of the frames became a movie poster for Blue Water White Death (1971).
This in turn was to inspire the JAWS books and movies – which were to do more harm than good (for many years) by presenting the great white shark as some super species with powers and ferocity to a silly excess. This worried many when entering the ocean.
In short, a powerful negative effect.
It also began a killing spree with high demand for shark teeth and cleaned jaws. Prices sky rocketed and threatened to wipe out many species from 1975.
A major question today. How did all the big budget Time-Life type popular books, encyclopaedia’s, National Geographic and all marine fishing publications miss reporting the ‘leaping white pointer shark’ phenomenon we see so often today?
It’s well documented with amazing video and pictures but why was this being overlooked for all those decades? Has it recently started? Are sharks being somehow trained?
I’ve tried unsuccessfully to find any old information that existed in the 20th century.
Big game fishermen knew blue pointer sharks (aka mako) jumped high but failed to pass along anything that suggested bulkier whites could do this too, when hooked.
We knew nothing of the now common air borne attacks on seals. How could fishermen have missed seeing and reporting this over hundreds of years?
Ron Taylor’s famous underwater movie sequence showing the snapping white pointer shark was recorded at Dangerous Reef, South Australia, March 1966. It was during a fishing shark hunt promotion for our film shows Shark Fighters.
Simultaneously the same sequence was recorded by a different underwater movie camera being run by Henri Bource, (above). The frames have never been copied to still picture form. The distance from the shark was difficult to show detail.
It does show Ron Taylor’s camera being held underwater by hands only. Henri was filming from a shark cage and was underwater but too far away.
This was the beginning of a much better understanding of this species. My text which accompanied Trail of the White Pointer was re-written by a reporter and became rubbish. However, it was a first start to a better understanding that this was the supreme shark.
Everybody’s Sept. 27, 1967 Pages 8, 9. (A former large circulation color tabloid weekly).